Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and Botswana National Olympics committee (BNOC) are cagey about the finer details of Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda’s Nike deal. The two signed personal contracts with the giant apparel supplier Nike at the just-ended Rio Olympic Games. However, details of the contract are still not clear as BAA President Moses Bantsi could not be drawn into discussing them. BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho wanted nothing to do with this, referring all questions to BAA. Bantsi could only confirm that indeed the two promising young stars have signed personal contracts with Nike. BAA, as the negotiator of the contracts, has all the information but Bantsi said he is constrained to reveal the details. “I cannot divulge the details since the parents of the athletes are not yet made aware of the developments. I have not yet met with their parents,” said Bantsi.
The little that he could say is that the contracts have both clothing and financial rewards. He also revealed that the athletes will also be entitled to bonuses when they reach the finals of competitions apart from the money they win from the race itself. According to Bantsi, this is a morale booster for the athletes to keep performing well since there are rewards. “As BAA we are very excited and humbled by this development. This mean the efforts of our athletes are being noticed world over and it motivates more to work hard also,” he said. Thebe and Sibanda bring to four the number of athletes local athletes sponsored by Nike. The other two are Nijel Amos and Isaac Makwala.
The signing of the contract by the two comes after their continued impressive performances in athletics. Even though none of them came up with a medal from the just-ended Rio Olympics they are both ranked position one and two respectively in the world (U-20). Apart from the athletes, BAA has also long signed a contract with Nike as their technical sponsor. Bantsi said they signed the contract way before the Olympics. He said Nike will be clothing the team at all competitions and if the team does well there will be financial benefits.